We head to the hills to put the latest walking trousers on the market to the test. Here is our review guide on the best walking trousers, looking at fit, comfort, durability and value for money.
This page will be updated regularly, so check back for the latest products.
Wayfarer Straight pant, Salomon, £80
In the Alps and the longer North American trails, there’s a growing interest in hiking at pace. These trousers from French firm Salomon reflect that ethos. So light, soft and stretchy you can barely feel them, these are very pleasant to wear on the trail, in warm to mild autumn weather. On really chilly days they could be a little skimpy – unless you like to move really fast. While DWR treatment will repel some water, the fabric soon gets soaked in steady rain; but it dries quickly.
They have a neat, uncluttered appearance with four discreet zippered pockets (two at the hip, on leg and one rear), making them pretty adaptable to the workplace or pub. The elasticated waist can be tightened using Velcro tabs, or opt to wear a belt. www.salomon.com
Best for: mild-weather backpacking; fast-moving hikes in mild to cool weather; shortish trips by bike; lightweight travel
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Odin Huggin Pant, Helly Hansen, £160
Billed as all-season, these technical trousers really come into their own between autumn and spring. The softshell fabric is windproof and yet it also achieves Helly Hansen’s maximum rating for breathability. It contrives to feel really substantial while remaining reasonably light at 570g.
There is plenty of stretch, and some neat articulation to help you flex knees comfortably on uphill stretches. The elasticated waist can be tightened using Velcro tabs. I like the hook on the hem, which allows you to attach the trouser leg to your boot laces, in lieu of gaiters, and the cuffs, which can be secured neatly around your boot-tops.
Zips on the lower leg allow you to pull them on and off without removing your boots… handy if the weather turns warm and you want to switch to shorts. The three pockets are zippered – two at the hip and one thigh.
The designed has a couple of mildly flamboyant touches that bring to mind garments for the climbing and snowboarding fraternity: the fly is set at an angle and finished with a pair of poppers; and the lining at the waist is florescent yellow. www.hellyhansen.com
Best for: Serious hikes between autumn and spring; windy uplands
Kiwi Pro II Trousers, Craghoppers, £50
Like the other trousers in this test, these don’t come bulging with bellows pockets and other technical bells and whistles. But they quietly include some very useful features for walkers. There are four zipped pockets, two at the hip, one each on the rear and thigh. The fabric is stretchy enough to allow you to move freely. The waist is elasticated (though not adjustable).
The fabric felt a little less breathable on test than the Salomon and Mammut trousers, but would offer good protection in cooler weather, and yet remains light at just 340g. Finally, as usual with Craghoppers gear, the price is relatively affordable. www.craghoppers.com
- Material: 96% polyamide, 4% elastane
- Weight: 340g
Best for: Walks between autumn and spring; travel
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Runbold Hiking Pants, Mammut, £89
Close-fitting but super-stretchy, these trousers allow you to move freely, and are both breathable and quick-drying. The ultra-light fabric won’t keep you warm if you linger on chilly days, but that’s not the point: these are for designed for moving at pace. You could almost think of them as an alternative to the kind of leggings worn by runners and cyclists – and may even appeal to those enthusiasts.
They have a simple, clean design, so that even the thigh pocket is well concealed. My only slight issue was the seam just above the knee, which I occasionally noticed dragging a little on uphill stretches. www.mammut.com/uk/en
Best for: Mild-weather backpackers and other lightweight travellers; moving at pace in cool weather; winter trail runs; shortish bike rides
Greenland Jeans, Fjallraven, £130
These tough trousers will tempt those who like to spend long hours roaming outdoors between autumn and spring. The sturdy fabric – G1000 Eco, made of recycled polyester and organic cotton – protects you from wind and cold, and is treated with wax to keep out the worst of the rain. Serious hill hikers will probably look for something with more give or articulation at the knees, such as the Greenland Stretch (also available for women) or the more technical Keb trousers. But if you’re the kind of walker to whom technical-style clothing doesn’t appeal, or you tend to linger outside working, wildlife-watching, mooching about in the woods or walking the dog, these make ideal protection for the dark months. There are five pockets – a pair each at hip and rear, and a thigh pocket big enough for a map. www.fjallraven.co.uk
- Material: G1000 Eco fabric – 65% recycled polyester, 35% organic cotton
- Weight: 390g